Archive for the ‘Lauren Myracle’ Category

Lauren Myracle is an author who typically breaks new ground, so I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed to find The Infinite Moment of Us to be a reasonably standard coming of age story.InfiniteMomentOfUs

Wren Gray and Charlie Parker “connect” (their eyes meet) across the high school parking lot on the last day of class. She, a product of domineering parents, has secretly withdrawn her acceptance at Emory, where her mother works, to join Project Unity and teach English to underprivileged Guatemalan children. He is the product of multiple foster families and an unhealthy liaison with Starrla, a very disturbed student. Their eyes meet once more across the field at graduation and they finally really meet (although they were in some of the same classes) at a graduation party. The attraction, both physical and emotional, is immediate and the bond and love they form seems ideal. However, Wren must deal with disappointing her parents when she tells them about her change in plans as well as Charlie’s total devotion to his disabled brother, sometimes breaking dates, abruptly ending phone conversations, etc., while Charlie must distance himself from Starrla, who becomes more and more jealous, needy and violent. In addition, the inexperienced Wren and the somewhat experienced Charlie grapple with their sexual desires and initial sexual encounter.

Wren’s and Charlie’s insecurities about a new relationship and sexual desires are real. While Myracle’s portrayal of overbearing, domineering parents is right on point, the ancillary characters of Wren’s best friend Tessa and her new boyfriend PG, are just too good (read sugary sweet) to be believable. Finally, I did not find the story line compelling and I admit I was skimming the last third of the book.

In the advanced copy of the book, Ms. Myracle includes a letter stating that there is sex in the book. While this is not unusual in teen books, it might be a tad more graphic (only a tad, though) than in most teen books. Not something I would have warned the reader about, but, hey, that’s my humble opinion.

Bottom line? Despite some bright spots, The Infinite Moment of Us was a disappointment.

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RoseUnderFireI sandwiched Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein between The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, the ultimate beach read and The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle, the ultimate coming of age/love story. Talk about contrast. Which one is not like the others?

Rose Under Fire, the companion novel to Wein’s award winning Code Name Verity is equally compelling. In my post about Verity, I said “It is about the clash between what you do and what you portray to others…how you do or don’t live with yourself.” This holds true for Rose Under Fire as well.  What I like about the main characters of these two books is their understated heroism.

Rose is an American 18 year old working as an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot in England in 1944, ferrying planes back and forth to troops that need them and flying damaged ones back for repair. On one flight she sees a buzz bomb and decides to attempt to dislodge it from its targeted course. After doing so, however, she gets intercepted by the Luftwaffe and is diverted to a German air base and ultimately transported to the Ravensbruck concentration camp.

Rose’s story is told in three sections: Southampton, Ravensbruck and Nuremburg. Through a series of diary entries, Rose describes her life as a pilot, the atrocities (including medical experiments), comradship and inhumanity in the concentration camp and finally her escape, liberation and emotions during the Nuremburg trials.

I typically don’t read books about the Holocaust because I can’t stomach it. But Wein has a way with words and characters, making her books impossible to put down. While they describe the inhumane treatment suffered by the camp inmates at the hands of soldiers, other inmates, and civilians, it also describes lovingly the heroic deeds, large and small, that prisoners were capable of, the selfless acts that impacted others’ lives.CodeNameVerity

Wein leaves no doubt that the concentration camps, the commandants that ran them and the doctors who experimented on deportees were evil personified. She describes the horrendous conditions of the camps and the people living in them. However, she also, out of the darkest gloom shines a light on people who fought, within the camps, to save prisoners, people who saved a crust of bread for others, who would not work in the factories that manufactured bombs which would have been dropped on Allied forces.

While it is not necessary to read Code Name Verity to enjoy Rose Under Fire, both are worth reading. Wein has compiled a list of resources, including internet and survivor accounts. And, while Wein states that this is a work of fiction, the general descriptions of the camp is based on fact.  I envision many awards for Rose Under Fire. Both books are a must read.

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Wow! I can’t believe I never posted this. So, even though it’s out of date, here it is.

I know the controversy between the nominations of Chime and Shine has died down, but it’s taken me until now to read Shine. So, here are my final comments (maybe).

Someone I know said something to the effect that Chime is loved by the critics and not too many others. Unfortunately I agree.  It’s very literary and I was able to get through about 50 pages before I put it down.  It’s not that I hated it, it’s that so many other books were calling to me that I just lost interest.  That’s not to disparage Franny Billingsley…please don’t get me wrong.  Chime just wasn’t my book.

So, instead I thought I’d compare Shine by Lauren Myracle to It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It) by Julie Anne Peters.  Why not compare two sides of the spectrum?

Shine takes place in the South. Patrick does not hide his sexual orientation and when he is found outside the Come ‘n Go convenience store, beaten up and with a gasoline nozzle in his mouth, the theory is he is a victim of a hate crime.  Cat, his one time best friend, decides she must find out who did this to Patrick and the book follows her on her quest. We meet Beef, Tommy, Dupree and Bailee-Ann, kids Cat’s grown up with and known forever.

As Cat searches for the perpetrator, the reader learns why she withdrew from all her friends.  We find all the inner secrets of the people around her, adults and teens.  Myracle paints a not so pretty picture of the South, of the backwoods towns, the poor economic conditions, the use of drugs as an escape mechanism, the intolerance of people because they are different.

Rather than being a book about homosexuality, Shine is really a book about self discovery, confronting your past, learning who you are.  The vehicle Myracle uses is a hate crime, although it could easily have been a robbery, a death in the family, a divorce or a myriad of other life events.  Lauren Myracle outshown herself (pun intended) in Shine. If you like reading well written books, books that make a point, books that hold your interest, Shine should fit the bill.  Apparently not for the National Book Award judges, but for you and me plain folk, it’ll do just fine.

In the Colorado town in which Azure, Luke and Radhika live, in It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It), sexual orientation is not an issue.  And, yeah, while Luke may get razzed by his brother, Owen’s, friends for being bisexual, and yeah, they may not like him for it, there is little to none of that outright hatred that permeates the southern town in which Patrick and Cat live in Shine.  And that’s the difference. It’s Our Prom emphasizes inclusiveness.

Azure is asked by her school principal to become a Prom Com member and work to make the prom more inclusive; of straights, gays, geeks, nerds, loners, cliques and non-cliques.  The fact that Azure and Luke both want to ask Radhika to the prom is just part of the romantic triangle.  The fact that Azure’s former girlfriend reappears and pulls at some forgotten heartstrings is what happens to every teenager.  The fact that Luke has a crush on both Connor and Radhika is no different than a million other teens whose hearts are pulled in many directions. 

The result is a fun read about a group of teens whose goal to make a prom to remember is thwarted by parents, teachers, idealism and naïveté. Some of the crushes are obvious to the reader while unknown to the recipient. Peters has a way of creating characters that you want as your friends and Azure, Luke and Radhika fall into this category.  These kids go through the same things that every teenager goes through:  uncertainty about the future, parental pressure, school work overload. This is the kind of world I’d like to live in.  Life is hard enough without castigating someone because of who they love.  Read It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It).

So, in conclusion, both Lauren Myracle and Julie Anne Peters have authored excellent books that use the GLBTQ theme as a backdrop for something more. That’s what I like about the books and the authors.  There’s something more.

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Lauren Myracle is a classy lady, no doubt about it.  Read portions of her interview with Vanity Fair Magazine, through the Galleycat website.


You’ll know why authors and readers alike respect her.  My congrats to you, Lauren, for handling an appalling situation with dignity and class.

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So, there’s been so much said about the National Book Awards nominations for YA Literature, but I think Libba Bray says it best.  After reading her blog, you’ll know why she’s a great author and I barely write a blog.


So, here’s a plug for her latest book.


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